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Waste Management and Control in the Petroleum Industry

 Waste Management and Control in the Petroleum Industry

ABSTRACT

This project work takes a look at the petroleum waste generated at the expense of oil and gas activities as it helps identify the various types of petroleum waste, sources of petroleum waste generation, oil and gas operations leading to the generation of petroleum waste, they impact of these operations on the society, the various types of treatment methods for each type of petroleum waste with their respective waste management practices, their environmental impacts, health, social and economic implications on the society. Most importantly, the best suitable and effective methods for handling this waste generated in the course of running oil and gas operations is made known for future reference.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Hydrocarbon is a naturally occurring liquid that can be distilled or refined to make fuels, lubricating oils, asphalt, and other valuable products. However it is in its raw form (crude), and has to undergo some rigorous process operation, ranging from the upstream sector to the downstream sector that results in the activities carried out in the oil and gas industry.

The activities of the petroleum industry result in the generation and discharge of gaseous and liquid and solid waste and its hazardous materials into the environment. While some of these wastes can have significant adverse effects on the environment, some have little impact, and others are actually beneficial. In virtually all cases, the adverse impact can be minimized or eliminated through the implementation of proper waste management. The most important steps in minimizing adverse environmental impact is for the industry to take a proactive approach to managing operations and become educated about those activities that can potentially harm the environment.

The proactive approach to managing operations and become educated about those activities leading to waste generation that can potentially harm the environment involves finding and producing oil and gas, while minimizing adverse environmental impact by waste, requires understanding the basic ways of handling and managing this waste produced from the petroleum industry.

1.1.2 WASTE GENERATION IN THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY

The waste generated in the course of the petroleum industry activities potentially poses great hazards to both human, animal health, and the environment, and are referred to as petroleum waste.

The petroleum industry is a complex combination of many inter-dependent combination such as exploration (production), exploitation (refining), and liquefaction (LPG, NGL, LNG) plants, petro-chemical, transportation, storage and marketing. In the course of each of the stages of operations, solids and, or liquids and gaseous waste are been generated, which adversely affects the soil, air and water habitats if not properly controlled.

1.1.3 OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS GENERATING PETROLEUM WASTE

Below isa list of Oil and Gas operations through which waste are generated in the petroleum industry, they are:

  • The exploration and development operations
  • Production operations
  • Terminal operations
  • Hydrocarbon processing operations
  • Liquefaction (LPG, NGL, LNG) plants
  • Oil transportation

EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT OPERATIONS

The major sources of waste pollution during exploration and development are blow-out, drill cuttings, drilling fluids and well treatment.

A blow-out is an uncontrolled flow of gas or liquid from a well to the surface. It frequently produces flying debris or result a fire. It could also be as a result of abnormal formation pressure, detected where hydrostatic pressure is less than formation pressure, you have a blow out as a result of drill fluid column and formation pressure is the formation column.

Drilling mud a typical type of drilling fluid can be either water base or oil base and are formulated to form a mixture of complex chemicals, organic and in-organic plus clay water. Drill mud additives may contain heavy metals like chromium and lead compounds which are health hazards.

It has been found out that dropping of drill cuttings on land will locally prevent plant growth, until natural processes develop new top soil. In water, the materials disperse and sink which may locally kill bottom living creatures by burying them. Well treatment flow contains chemicals and if not properly disposed of, pose serious problem to both life and environment.

PRODUCTION OPERATIONS

The waste originating from production operations include:

       Produced water effluence solids, liquids and gases

       Oil leaks from wells, piping and storage

       Accidental oil spillages

       Gas flaring

Liquid effluence from production operations contains several hundred parts per million of oil and grease. The Total dissolved solids (TDs), Bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD), heavy metals, and other toxics. The effluence may differ from the receiving environment in terms of salinity, temperature and PH.

Gas flaring is a common practice at production fields, refineries and petro-chemical plants causing atmospheric emissions of CO2, CO, oxides of Nitrogen and sulfur as well as particulate matter. Air pollution resulting from gas flares, affects man and his environment in many ways.

Accidental spillages refer to operational misshape in the course of production that permit oil to escape from a well or pipeline to the environment. This results mostly from improper application from control techniques.

Oil leakages from the flow line, pipeline, or storage facilities pose serious ecological problems. This leakage is mostly as a result of corrosion which is one of the most costly troubles encountered by the oil industry

TERMINAL OPERATIONS

Produced crude oil are normally dehydrated, fiscalized and pipe to or from tank farms for storage or terminals for export.

Major sources of waste from terminal products include:

       Discharges from treatment facilities

       Run off/ accidental oil spill

       Evaporation

Discharges from treatment facilities include oily formation, water, brine, entrained solids, gas etc.

Runoff and accidental oil spills may be due to malfunctions of equipment or pipes and or leakages from pipes.

Evaporation is a serious source of oil lose and subsequently atmospheric solution. It is a loss that results from the daily handling of volatile liquids, oil and gases. It is a common feature in crude oil and product handling and storage.

HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OPERATIONS

Hydrocarbon processing operations includes refining and petro-chemical operations, in this process a complex array of gaseous and liquid and solid effluence are discharged into the environment. Common atmospheric emissions from the refineries and petro-chemical plants includes CO, NO, particulates, carbon black, dust pellets, hydrocarbon, propane, ethane, ethylene, xylene, and benzene chlorinated hydrocarbons. Solid wastes include; oily sludge, heavy metals, spent catalyst, carbon black etc.

LIQUEFACTION PLANTS OPERATION (LPG, NGL, LNG)

Natural gas either associated or non-associated must be treated into liquefied gas

(Propane and butane) or natural gas liquid as C1-C3 before the can be used as efficient fuel sources. Emissions and water effluent parameter that characterize waste are similar to those of refinery and must be controlled and monitored to prevent or minimize environmental hazards.

OIL TRANSPORTATION OPERATIONS

Transportation of the hydrocarbon by pipeline barges and road tankers sometimes causes oil pollution. The major sources of pollution are oil spillages, due to leaking barges, damage or corroded pipelines, ship and road tanker accident. Other sources of pollution are oily sludge from tank cleaning and oil water from balancing of oily tankers.

The sources of hydrocarbon inputs into the sea as resulting from the various Oil and Gas operations could be summarized in the table 1.1 below, which shows in details the amount in metric tons of hydrocarbons been injected into the sea from oil and gas productions, published by the National Research Council, 1985, Washington DC.

Table1.1: SOURCES OF HYDROCARBON INPUTS INTO THE SEA, PUBLISHED BY THE NATIONAL

RESEARCH COUNCIL1985, WASHINGHTON DC.

Source Amount Introduced(metric tons/year)
Natural SourcesMarine seeps

Sediment erosion

0.25(0.2)

(0.05)

Offshore Production 0.05
TransportationTanker operations

Dry-docking

Marine terminals

Bilge and fuel oils

Tanker accidents

Non-tanker accidents

1.47(0.7)

(0.03)

(0.02)

(0.3)

(0.4)

(0.02)

Atmospheric Transport 0.3
Municipal and IndustrialMunicipal wastes

Refineries

Non-refining industrial waste

Urban runoff

River runoff

Ocean dumping

1.18(0.7)

(0.1)

(0.2)

(0.12)

(0.04)

(0.02)

TOTAL 3.2

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Waste production from the petroleum industry is one of the major problems facing the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, as it has often thrown the industry into numerous challenges ranging from technological development to ensuring a clean and safe environment to man and its environment. It is now of an imperative condition that the generation of these waste products from the petroleum industry be effectively managed to an extent if not controlled, in order to ensure a safe playground for oil and gas activities.

1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY TO THE SOCIETY

Waste generation during oil and gas activities in the Nigeria petroleum industry has created serious health and environmental pollution problems for the country in general and to the host communities in particular, been a major threat to life, making the environment inhabitable. Thus, effective solutions to these problems calls for an integrated approach instilling advanced method, planning and management of the waste produced during oil and gas activities in the Nigeria petroleum industry, hence reducing the impact of waste generation to the environment and society, creating a better habitat.

1.4 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The primary aim of this study is to:

  • Analyze various sources of waste generation in the oil and gas industry.
  • Recommend ways/methods by which the waste can be controlled and managed to a reasonable extent for a safe working environment for the oil and gas companies and their host communities.

1.5 JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY

This project work helps to enlighten the society, contractors, and personnel’s on the adverse effect of  the waste produced during oil and gas operations in the Nigeria petroleum industry in regards to what measures must be put in place to curb this menace caused by these wastes generated from this activities. These measures are said to be waste management in the oil and gas industry.

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Project Topic: Waste Management and Control in the Petroleum Industry

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